Therapeutic targeting of Polo-like kinase-1 and Aurora kinases in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
ABSTRACT: Polo-like kinases (PLKs) and Aurora kinases (AKs) act as key cell cycle regulators in healthy human cells. In cancer, these protein kinases are often overexpressed and dysregulated, thus contributing to uncontrolled cell proliferation and growth. T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) is a heterogeneous malignancy arising in the thymus from T-cell progenitors. Primary chemoresistant and relapsed T-ALL patients have yet a poor outcome, therefore novel therapies, targeting signaling pathways important for leukemic cell proliferation, are required. Here, we demonstrate the potential therapeutic effects of BI6727, MK-5108, and GSK1070916, three selective inhibitors of PLK1, AK-A, and AK-B/C, respectively, in a panel of T-ALL cell lines and primary cells from T-ALL patients. The drugs were both cytostatic and cytotoxic to T-ALL cells by inducing G2/M-phase arrest and apoptosis. The drugs retained part of their pro-apoptotic activity in the presence of MS-5 bone marrow stromal cells. Moreover, we document for the first time that BI6727 perturbed both the PI3K/Akt/mTORC2 and the MEK/ERK/mTORC1 signaling pathways, and that a combination of BI6727 with specific inhibitors of the aforementioned pathways (MK-2206, CCI-779) displayed significantly synergistic cytotoxic effects. Taken together, our findings indicate that PLK1 and AK inhibitors display the potential for being employed in innovative therapeutic strategies for improving T-ALL patient outcome.
Project description:Aurora kinases are key regulators of mitotic events. Dysfunction of these kinases can cause polyploidy and chromosomal instability, a contributor to tumorigenesis. MK-5108 is a potent inhibitor of Aurora A kinase that has shown preclinical potent activity in malignancies of breast, cervical, colon, ovarian, and pancreatic origin. We sought to assess the preclinical efficacy of MK-5108 in a panel of non-small-cell lung cancer cell lines as a single agent and in combination with cisplatin and docetaxel.Eleven lung cancer cell lines were studied. Growth inhibition by MK-5108 was assessed with short- and long-term MTT assays. Cell cycling was measured by flow cytometry. Immunoblotting was used to determine targeted activity of MK-5108 on Aurora A and downstream effects (TACC3 and Plk1). Efficacy of combination studies performed with cisplatin and docetaxel was evaluated by median effect analysis.All cell lines demonstrated sustained growth inhibition following MK-5108 at varying nanomolar concentrations. MK-5108 induced G2/M accumulation, polyploidy, and apoptosis (increased sub-G1/PARP cleavage). Levels of Aurora A, TACC3, and Plk1 diminished. Concurrent treatment of MK-5108 with cisplatin or docetaxel synergistically inhibited cell growth with the docetaxel combination performing better. When administered sequentially, treatment with docetaxel first followed by MK-5108 exhibited greater growth inhibition than the inverse; yet concurrent treatment remained superior.MK-5108 has potent anti-proliferative activity in lung cancer cell lines alone and in combination with chemotherapies. Determining how best to integrate Aurora inhibitors into current lung cancer treatment regimens would be beneficial.
Project description:Aurora kinases are essential for cell division and are frequently misregulated in human cancers. Based on their potential as cancer therapeutics, a plethora of small molecule Aurora kinase inhibitors have been developed, with a subset having been adopted as tools in cell biology. Here, we fill a gap in the characterization of Aurora kinase inhibitors by using biochemical and cell-based assays to systematically profile a panel of 10 commercially available compounds with reported selectivity for Aurora A (MLN8054, MLN8237, MK-5108, MK-8745, Genentech Aurora Inhibitor 1), Aurora B (Hesperadin, ZM447439, AZD1152-HQPA, GSK1070916), or Aurora A/B (VX-680). We quantify the in vitro effect of each inhibitor on the activity of Aurora A alone, as well as Aurora A and Aurora B bound to fragments of their activators, TPX2 and INCENP, respectively. We also report kinome profiling results for a subset of these compounds to highlight potential off-target effects. In a cellular context, we demonstrate that immunofluorescence-based detection of LATS2 and histone H3 phospho-epitopes provides a facile and reliable means to assess potency and specificity of Aurora A versus Aurora B inhibition, and that G2 duration measured in a live imaging assay is a specific readout of Aurora A activity. Our analysis also highlights variation between HeLa, U2OS, and hTERT-RPE1 cells that impacts selective Aurora A inhibition. For Aurora B, all four tested compounds exhibit excellent selectivity and do not significantly inhibit Aurora A at effective doses. For Aurora A, MK-5108 and MK-8745 are significantly more selective than the commonly used inhibitors MLN8054 and MLN8237. A crystal structure of an Aurora A/MK-5108 complex that we determined suggests the chemical basis for this higher specificity. Taken together, our quantitative biochemical and cell-based analyses indicate that AZD1152-HQPA and MK-8745 are the best current tools for selectively inhibiting Aurora B and Aurora A, respectively. However, MK-8745 is not nearly as ideal as AZD1152-HQPA in that it requires high concentrations to achieve full inhibition in a cellular context, indicating a need for more potent Aurora A-selective inhibitors. We conclude with a set of "good practice" guidelines for the use of Aurora inhibitors in cell biology experiments.
Project description:Chondrosarcomas are malignant cartilage tumors that are relatively resistant towards conventional therapeutic approaches. Kinase inhibitors have been investigated and shown successful for several different cancer types. In this study we aimed at identifying kinase inhibitors that inhibit the survival of chondrosarcoma cells and thereby serve as new potential therapeutic strategies to treat chondrosarcoma patients. An siRNA screen targeting 779 different kinases was conducted in JJ012 chondrosarcoma cells in parallel with a compound screen consisting of 273 kinase inhibitors in JJ012, SW1353 and CH2879 chondrosarcoma cell lines. AURKA, CHK1 and PLK1 were identified as most promising targets and validated further in a more comprehensive panel of chondrosarcoma cell lines. Dose response curves were performed using tyrosine kinase inhibitors: MK-5108 (AURKA), LY2603618 (CHK1) and Volasertib (PLK1) using viability assays and cell cycle analysis. Apoptosis was measured at 24 h after treatment using a caspase 3/7 assay. Finally, chondrosarcoma patient samples (N = =34) were used to examine the correlation between AURKA, CHK1 and PLK1 RNA expression and documented patient survival. Dose dependent decreases in viability were observed in chondrosarcoma cell lines after treatment with MK-5108, LY2603618 and volasertib, with cell lines showing highest sensitivity to PLK1 inhibition. In addition increased sensitivity to conventional chemotherapy was observed after CHK1 inhibition in a subset of the cell lines. Interestingly, whereas AURKA and CHK1 were both expressed in chondrosarcoma patient samples, PLK1 expression was found to be low compared to normal cartilage. Analysis of patient samples revealed that high CHK1 RNA expression correlated with a worse overall survival. AURKA, CHK1 and PLK1 are identified as important survival genes in chondrosarcoma cell lines. Although further research is needed to validate these findings, inhibiting CHK1 seems to be the most promising potential therapeutic target for patients with chondrosarcoma.
Project description:Mitosis is choreographed by a number of protein kinases including polo-like kinases and Aurora kinases. As these kinases are frequently dysregulated in cancers, small-molecule inhibitors have been developed for targeted anticancer therapies. Given that PLK1 and Aurora kinases possess both unique functions as well as co-regulate multiple mitotic events, whether pharmacological inhibition of these kinases together can enhance mitotic catastrophe remains an outstanding issue to be determined. Using concentrations of inhibitors that did not induce severe mitotic defects on their own, we found that both the metaphase arrest and mitotic slippage induced by inhibitors targeting Aurora A and Aurora B (MK-5108 and Barasertib respectively) were enhanced by a PLK1 inhibitor (BI 2536). We found that PLK1 is overexpressed in cells from nasopharyngeal carcinoma, a highly invasive cancer with poor prognosis, in comparison to normal nasopharyngeal epithelial cells. Nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells were more sensitive to BI 2536 as a single agent and co-inhibition with Aurora kinases than normal cells. These observations underscore the mechanism and potential benefits of targeting PLK1 and Aurora kinases to induce mitotic catastrophe in cancer cells.
Project description:Polo-like kinases (Plks) are a family of serine-threonine kinases that regulate multiple intracellular processes including DNA replication, mitosis, and stress response. Plk1, the most well understood family member, regulates numerous stages of mitosis and is overexpressed in many cancers. Plk inhibitors are currently under clinical investigation, including phase III trials of volasertib, a Plk inhibitor, in acute myeloid leukemia and rigosertib, a dual inhibitor of Plk1/phosphoinositide 3-kinase signaling pathways, in myelodysplastic syndrome. Other Plk inhibitors, including the Plk1 inhibitors GSK461364A, TKM-080301, GW843682, purpurogallin, and poloxin and the Plk4 inhibitor CFI-400945 fumarate, are in earlier clinical development. This review discusses the biologic roles of Plks in cell cycle progression and cancer, and the mechanisms of action of Plk inhibitors currently in development as cancer therapies.
Project description:Atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor (ATRT) is an aggressive and malignant pediatric brain tumor. Polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1) is highly expressed in many cancers and essential for mitosis. Overexpression of PLK1 promotes chromosome instability and aneuploidy by overriding the G2-M DNA damage and spindle checkpoints. Recent studies suggest that targeting PLK1 by small molecule inhibitors is a promising approach to tumor therapy. We investigated the effect of PLK1 inhibition in ATRT. Gene expression analysis showed that PLK1 was overexpressed in ATRT patient samples and tumor cell lines. Genetic inhibition of PLK1 with shRNA potently suppressed ATRT cell growth in vitro. Treatment with the PLK1 inhibitor BI 6727 (Volasertib) significantly decreased cell growth, inhibited clonogenic potential, and induced apoptosis. BI6727 treatment led to G2-M phase arrest, consistent with PLK1's role as a critical regulator of mitosis. Moreover, inhibition of PLK1 by BI6727 suppressed the tumor-sphere formation of ATRT cells. Treatment also significantly decreased levels of the DNA damage proteins Ku80 and RAD51 and increased ?-H2AX expression, indicating that BI 6727 can induce DNA damage. Importantly, BI6727 significantly enhanced radiation sensitivity of ATRT cells. In vivo, BI6727 slowed growth of ATRT tumors and prolonged survival in a xenograft model. PLK1 inhibition is a compelling new therapeutic approach for treating ATRT, and the use of BI6727 should be evaluated in clinical studies.
Project description:Uterine leiomyosarcoma (ULMS) is a poorly understood cancer with few effective treatments. This study explores the molecular events involved in ULMS with the goal of developing novel therapeutic strategies.Genome-wide transcriptional profiling, Western blotting, and real-time PCR were used to compare specimens of myometrium, leiomyoma, and leiomyosarcoma. Aurora A kinase was targeted in cell lines derived from metastatic ULMS using siRNA or MK-5108, a highly specific small-molecule inhibitor. An orthotopic model was used to evaluate the ability of MK-5108 to inhibit ULMS growth in vivo.We found that 26 of 50 gene products most overexpressed in ULMS regulate mitotic centrosome and spindle functions. These include UBE2C, Aurora A and B kinase, TPX2, and Polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1). Targeting Aurora A inhibited proliferation and induced apoptosis in LEIO285, LEIO505, and SK-LMS1, regardless of whether siRNA or MK-5108 was used. In vitro, MK-5108 did not consistently synergize with gemcitabine or docetaxel. Gavage of an orthotopic ULMS model with MK-5108 at 30 or 60 mg/kg decreased the number and size of tumor implants compared with sham-fed controls. Oral MK-5108 also decreased the rate of proliferation, increased intratumoral apoptosis, and increased expression of phospho-histone H3 in ULMS xenografts.Our results show that dysregulated centrosome function and spindle assembly are a robust feature of ULMS that can be targeted to slow its growth both in vitro and in vivo. These observations identify novel directions that can be potentially used to improve clinical outcomes for this disease.
Project description:Members of polo-like kinases (collectively, Plks) have been identified in various eukaryotic organisms and play pivotal roles in cell proliferation. They are characterized by the presence of a distinct region of homology in the C-terminal noncatalytic domain, called polo-box domain (PBD). Among them, Plk1 and its functional homologs in other organisms have been best characterized because of its strong association with tumorigenesis. Plk1 is overexpressed in a wide spectrum of cancers in humans, and is thought to be an attractive anti-cancer drug target. Plk1 offers, within one molecule, two functionally different drug targets with distinct properties-the N-terminal catalytic domain and the C-terminal PBD essential for targeting the catalytic activity of Plk1 to specific subcellular locations. In this review, we focused on discussing the recent development of small-molecule and phosphopeptide inhibitors for their potency and specificity against Plk1. Our effort in understanding the binding mode of various inhibitors to Plk1 PBD are also presented.
Project description:Errors during meiotic resumption in oocytes can result in chromosome missegregation and infertility. Several cell cycle kinases have been linked with roles in coordinating events during meiotic resumption, including polo-like kinases (PLKs). Mammals express four kinase-proficient PLKs (PLK1-4). Previous studies assessing the role of PLK1 have relied on RNA knockdown and kinase inhibition approaches, as Plk1 null mutations are embryonically lethal. To further assess the roles of PLK1 during meiotic resumption, we developed a Plk1 conditional knockout (cKO) mouse to specifically mutate Plk1 in oocytes. Despite normal oocyte numbers and follicle maturation, Plk1 cKO mice were infertile. From analysis of meiotic resumption, Plk1 cKO oocytes underwent nuclear envelope breakdown with the same timing as control oocytes. However, Plk1 cKO oocytes failed to form compact bivalent chromosomes, and localization of cohesin and condensin were defective. Furthermore, Plk1 cKO oocytes either failed to organize ?-tubulin or developed an abnormally small bipolar spindle. These abnormalities were attributed to aberrant release of the microtubule organizing center (MTOC) linker protein, C-NAP1, and the failure to recruit MTOC components and liquid-like spindle domain (LISD) factors. Ultimately, these defects result in meiosis I arrest before homologous chromosome segregation.
Project description:Polo-like kinases (Plks) define a highly conserved family of Ser/Thr kinases with crucial roles in the regulation of cell division. Here we show that Plk1 is cleaved by caspase 3, but not by other caspases in different hematopoietic cell lines treated with competitive inhibitors of the ATP-binding pocket of Plk1. Intriguingly, Plk1 was not cleaved in cells treated with Rigosertib, a non-competitive inhibitor of Plk1, suggesting that binding of the inhibitor to the ATP binding pocket of Plk1 triggers a conformational change and unmasks a cryptic caspase 3 cleavage site on the protein. Cleavage occurs after Asp-404 in a DYSD/K sequence and separates the kinase domain from the two PBDs of Plk1. All Plk1 inhibitors triggered G2/M arrest, activation of caspases 2 and 3, polyploidy, multiple nuclei and mitotic catastrophe, albeit at higher concentrations in the case of Rigosertib. Upon BI-2536 treatment, Plk1 cleavage occurred only in the cytosolic fraction and cleaved Plk1 accumulated in this subcellular compartment. Importantly, the cleaved N-Terminal fragment of Plk1 exhibited a higher enzymatic activity than its non-cleaved counterpart and accumulated into the cytoplasm conversely to the full length and the C-Terminal Plk1 fragments that were found essentially into the nucleus. Finally, the DYSD/K cleavage site was highly conserved during evolution from c. elegans to human. In conclusion, we described herein for the first time a specific cleavage of Plk1 by caspase 3 following treatment of cancer cells with ATP-competitive inhibitors of Plk1.